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Charles Margrave Taylor

  • Canada / Nobember 5, 1931
  • Philosopher
  • Professor Emeritus, McGill University

Construction of a Social Philosophy to Pursue the Coexistence of Diverse Cultures

Dr. Taylor is an outstanding philosopher who advocates communitarianism and multiculturalism from the perspective of holistic individualism. He has pointed the future course for us through his own life, envisioning the future in which diverse, heterogeneous cultures peacefully coexist upon mutual recognition.

Profile

Brief Biography

1931
Born in Montreal, Canada
1952
B.A.(History), McGill University; Rhodes Scholar to University of Oxford
1955
B.A.(Philosophy, Politics & Economics), University of Oxford
1956
Fellow of All Souls' College, Oxford; Studied under Isaiah Berlin
1960
MA, University of Oxford
1961
Ph.D.(Philosophy), University of Oxford
1961
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, McGill University
1962
Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Montreal
1972
Professor, Department of Political Science, McGill University
1974
Mills Visiting Professor Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley
1976
Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory, University of Oxford
1984
Suhrkamp Lecturer, University of Frankfurt
1992
Tanner Lecturer, Stanford University
1996
Max Horkheimer Lecturer, University of Frankfurt
1998
Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy, McGill University
2002
Board of Trustees Professor of Law and Philosophy, Northwestern University

Selected Awards and Honors

1992
Le Prix Léon-Gérin, Gouvernement du Québec
1995
Companion of Order of Canada
2000
Grand Officier de l'Ordre National du Québec
2007
Templeton Prize, John Templeton Foundation
Member:
British Academy, Royal Society of Canada, American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Selected Publications

1975

Hegel, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1975.

1979

Hegel and Modern Society, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1979.

1989

Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1989.

1991

The Ethics of Authenticity, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1991.

1992

Multiculturalism, Amy Gutman et al., Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1992.

1998

Catholic Modernity?, James L. Heft et al., Oxford University Press, New York, 1998.

2004

Modern Social Imaginaries, Duke University Press, Durham, 2004.

2007

A Secular Age, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 2007.

Citation

Construction of a Social Philosophy to Pursue the Coexistence of Diverse Cultures

Dr. Charles Margrave Taylor is an outstanding philosopher who advocates “communitarianism” and “multiculturalism” from the perspective of “holistic individualism.” He has constructed and endeavored to put into practice a social philosophy that allows human beings with different historical, traditional, and cultural backgrounds to retain their multiple identities and to live in happiness with each other.

He has criticized the atomistic view of the self, the conception of the human being grounded in the human sciences of naturalistic tendency, and tried to establish a “philosophical anthropology” on a foundation of phenomenology, hermeneutics, and language-game theory. In his view, human beings are “self-interpreting animals.” He criticizes modern utilitarianism and argues that human beings are the “situated selves” that are embedded in the fabric of social relations. In other words, it is through webs of interlocution that human beings develop identities and acquire frameworks within which they determine for themselves what is good, what is valuable, what they should do, and what they are for or against.

Having made extensive studies of Hegel, Dr. Taylor delved back into the thought of Rousseau and Herder. He then adopted Gadamer’s notions “fusion of horizons” and “history of effects” to situate his own thought in a historical context and has built a convincing social theory. Drawing on the concept of “recognition,” which is a key to his philosophy, he contrasts the “dialogical self” with the “monological self” and offers “freedom in situation” in place of “absolute freedom.” Human beings can flourish only if their identities are recognized by others and, accordingly, he stresses the importance of bonds with community and sense of community as a necessary condition for the realization of liberalism emphasizing individual autonomy.

The concept of recognition is at the base of Dr. Taylor’s multiculturalism as well. Dr. Taylor has provided rational grounds for the dignity of human beings living a deep diversity and for their demands for recognition.

In his native Canada, Dr. Taylor is also involved in political activities. He has been seeking a way to overcome Eurocentrism and to reach for genuinely global values. He has invariably aspired to a society resting on mutual recognition, where each member strives by mutual efforts through dialogue for a better understanding. Dr. Taylor is a prominent thinker who has pointed the future course for us through his own life, envisioning the future in which diverse, heterogeneous cultures peacefully coexist upon mutual recognition.

For these reasons, the Inamori Foundation is pleased to present the 2008 Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy to Dr. Charles Margrave Taylor.

Lecture

Abstract of the Lecture

What drove me to philosophy

Aristotle tells us that the impulse which drives us to philosophize is gthaumazeinh, wonder at the world. In a way this is right. The most important philosophical moments are when something you have always taken for granted, barely even noticed, strikes you as remarkable, even astonishing.

But there is another side to this wonder, and that is puzzlement. Once you are led to ask questions like these, you donft know how to go on. How should you formulate these questions? How to seek for an answer? This puzzlement can be painful, as much as the wonder is exhilarating; and both together drive you to try to formulate, articulate, deep issues of which you were unaware, issues you didnft know existed in the past (and which others may find weird).

I want to talk of how wonder and puzzlement intruded into my life, and pushed me where I have gone.

At first, I studied history. This seemed to be the best way. Then I became involved in politics; in the ways that politics could transform human life. But underlying all these was an interest in philosophical anthropology: what were human beings, these beings who can speak and therefore articulate, and in this way transform themselves?

In contact with both history and politics as academic subjects, I began to see how often they are studied in a way which shuts out the questions I was asking. Often they suppose a stripped-down, reductive view of human life. A great deal of my work has been an attempt to combat this kind of reductive, over-simple, one-dimensional understanding. Another impetus was a more immediate practical one: how to articulate the political issues of our time, so that we can actually make headway.

From this beginning point I will try in my lecture to make sense of the questions I have tried to deal with, of my understanding of philosophy as not gpureh, but involving a knowledge (in my case) of society and history. I will talk of the discouragements, and then (sometimes) break-throughs, which are inseparable from any life of the gphilosophicalh kind (which it can be seen is lived by lots of thinkers who are not philosophers in the narrow, academic sense).

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Workshop

Workshop

A Secular Age and After —Secularization and Modernity—

date
13:00 - 17:00, November 12, 2008 (Wed.)
palce
Kyoto International Conference Center
Coordinator and Supervisor
Heita Kawakatsu (Chairman, Kyoto Prize Committee in Arts and Philosophy; President, Shizuoka University of Art and Culture)
Organized by Inamori Foundation
Supported by Kyoto Prefectural Government, Kyoto City Government, and NHK
With the cooperation of Japan Association of Legal Philosophy, Japanese Conference for the Study of Political Thought, The Japanese Society for Ethics, The Philosophical Association of Japan, The Society for the History of Social Thought

Program

13:00
Opening Address Heita Kawakatsu
Introduction of Laureate Heita Kawakatsu
Laureate Lecture Charles Margrave Taylor (the Laureate in Arts and Philosophy)
"Master Narratives of Secularity"
Intermission
Panel Discussion
Moderator: Heita Kawakatsu
Panelists: Charles Margrave Taylor
Shozo Iijima (Professor, Senior Dean, Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University)
Tatsuo Inoue (Professor, Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, The University of Tokyo)
Tomohiko Tanaka (Associate Professor, Charles Margrave Taylor
Shozo Iijima (Professor, Senior Dean, Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University)
Tatsuo Inoue (Professor, Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, The University of Tokyo)
Tomohiko Tanaka (Associate Professor, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Tokyo Medical and Dental University)
Yasuo Tsuji (Professor, School of Law, Hokkaido University)
Takamitsu Nakano (Research Lecturer, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Chiba University)
17:00
Closing
PAGETOP